During a ceremony in the Rose Garden, President Trump signed a much-anticipated “Religious Liberty” executive order. The Executive Order states it is the
policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.
The relatively short Executive Order also recognizes that
the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans’ first freedom.
Among other items, the order calls for the Secretary of the Treasury to relax prohibitions on political activities of tax-exempt religious institutions as well as instructs the Attorney General to “as appropriate” issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.
Absent from the final version of the order, however, is a provision that would have made it permissible for federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT individuals on the basis of religious beliefs. The initial draft of the order permitted that type of action. The removal of this provision may be a sign of the still-evolving support of the Trump administration for the LGBT community.